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Pienaar the difference as Ulster end Munster's winning streak

Ian Keatley’s missed kicks proved costly for Rob Penney’s men.

Ulster's Ruan Pienaar missed just one kick at goal this evening.
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar missed just one kick at goal this evening.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

RUAN PIENAAR KICKED 19 points as Ulster overcame provincial rivals Munster 29-19 in a brilliant RaboPro12 game at Raven Hill on Friday night.

The South African helped Mark Anscombe’s side into an early 3-0 lead after Munster gave away a penalty at the breakdown and Pienaar made no mistake.

It was a moment of magic from Paddy Jackson that produced the game’s first try, his perfectly weighted kick allowing Jared Payne to breach the Munster defence and dive on the ball before it went out of play to give Ulster a 10-0 lead with just six minutes gone.

Ulster made the most of a missed Ian Keatley penalty when Munster were caught offside on 18 minutes, Pienaar slotting over his second kick of the game.

Darren Cave then scored arguably the try of the season when Payne raced into space before offloading to Andrew Trimble who cut back inside. Cave’s support run was perfect and he crashed over the line to give Ulster — after Pienaar’s conversion — a 20 point lead.

It looked like it might stay that way up to half-time but Munster had other ideas as Ivan Dineen picked his way through the Ulster backline following a Keatley offload. However, the fly-half’s awful night with the boot continued meaning the scoreboard read 20-5 at the interval.

Keatley again missed a penalty after the break but Munster’s attempt to muster a comeback were boosted by David Kilcoyne who turned the corner of a rolling maul before making his way over for the try.

Another successful penalty from Pienaar in the 65th minute helped steady Ulster nerves but Munster weren’t finished and, after another driving maul from a lineout, James Coughlan scored and Keatley converted to leave them just four points behind.

However, Ulster were not to be denied and Pienaar slotted over two more penalties, the second of which came after Paul O’Connell was yellow carded for disagreeing with referee Alain Rolland, to give Mark Anscombe’s side a 29-19 win.

The victory moves Ulster ahead of Leinster in the Pro12 table on 37 points, and they are now just six points behind leaders Munster.

VIDEO: Ulster are tearing Munster apart in Ravenhill

As it happened: Ulster v Munster, Pro12

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